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The Train-ing of Oklahoma (Sep 01, 2006)
Charles Banks Wilson paintingTrains have been in the news a lot in recent years. When funding shortfalls last spring threatened the continued operation of Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer route to Fort Worth, rail advocates launched a vocal and ultimately successful campaign to keep the service going. Now they’re busy fighting the imminent destruction of much of Oklahoma City’s Union Station rail yard to make way for the I-40 Crosstown Expressway. We spend the hour looking back at the important role trains played in the early history of Oklahoma.

WEB EXTRAS: “Railroad building in years past has always had its accompaniment of humor, pathos, violence and even tragedy,” write Preston George and Sylvan Wood in their 1943 treatise The Railroads of Oklahoma. To get a sense of just how important passenger trains were in the state's early days, listen to this account of the dispute between the citizens of Enid and the Rock Island Line that almost turned deadly:MP3

Former railroad worker Jim Pasby shared with us his memories of the passenger train era in Oklahoma. We didn't have time to include it in the show, but you can listen here:MP3

For more info:
Oklahoma Railway Museum
Other train museums in Oklahoma
Amtrak's Heartland Flyer route

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